Authorities caution about disease outbreak

- PRAGATI SHAHI, Kathmandu

Aug 7, 2014-

Local authorities have mobilised health workers to contain the possibility of an epidemic in the landslide-hit area of Mankha VDC in Sindupalchok district. Medics are working to improve water supply, hygiene and sanitation of the displaced families living in the affected areas along Sunkoshi River, which was blocked at Jure with the fall of a 1.9 km slope of land perched 1,350 metres above the river bed.

Officials from the District Public Health Office on Thursday examined the survivors to monitor the occurrence of any epidemic in the disaster area. The massive landslide claimed 33 lives and left 123 missing, all of whom are considered dead. More than 400 displaced people are living in temporary shelters provided by the authorities.

“We have been distributing water, sanitation and hygiene kits to each household and plan to build 10-12 temporary toilets in the area,” said Yuv Raj Kandel, Local District Officer for Sindupalchok.

The local administration and the health team mobilised on the ground warn that the decaying of human bodies and livestock buried under the landmass or carried by the river could cause diseases unless precautionary measures are put in place urgently.

Dr Baburam Marasini, director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Ministry of Health and Population, sees a chance of an outbreak of cholera or diarrhoea immediately while dengue and kala-azar could occur within two to three months. Diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, common cold and eye soreness are common occurrences after a disaster.

For instance, soon after the Koshi flood of August 2008, the affected areas in Sunsari and Saptari districts faced a Cholera epidemic, affecting hundreds of displaced due to contaminated water and poor sanitation. The Department of Health Services has dispatched a three-member team to the site to ensure necessary health care and put in place preventive and precautionary measures.

Published: 08-08-2014 08:53

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